Within hours of his re-election confirmed, London Labor Mayor Sadiq Khan did what he did best and praised the virtues of the city he represents. On the stage of Shakespeare’s Globe on the banks of the Thames, he officially enrolled for his second term and then launched a huge new £ 6 million campaign to boost London’s culture, hospitality and retail economy. Let’s do London uses the talents of the major London art and cultural institutions with the mantra “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs”.
We can talk exclusively with Khan on the rain-swept terrace of the globe (hey, it’s almost summer!) About where London will lead in the future and what specific goals this initiative is pursuing. “Let’s Do London is the biggest tourism campaign our city has ever seen,” he says. “The reason it’s so important is that the last 15 months have been incredibly tough for us. I not only recognize the joy we have in retail, culture and hospitality, but also that one in five jobs in London is located in these areas. We need to make sure we recover as soon as possible to avoid mass unemployment that leads to a massive recession. ‘
Photo: Chris Waywell
International tourism to London fell by 90 percent in 2020. This year seems to be the same. A significant part of Let’s Do London draws UK visitors to the capital as the roadmap for the lockdown allows for more domestic travel. ‘This will probably be the only year in our lives that there will be no international tourists in London, ”says Khan. “It’s an opportunity to have fewer people in line and do the things you wouldn’t otherwise. To find out why London is the best city in the world and to find out why you fell in love with London. It’s about attracting people from all over the country to London for overnight stays and luring Londoners for day trips around their city. ‘
Alongside this opening up of the capital, there is a parallel need to restore a better quality of life to Londoners who were deprived of their city during the pandemic. “I think we will appreciate each other’s company more,” says Khan. “I think we will appreciate the interaction more. I think younger Londoners in particular really missed the way of life we had. Not just working, but having lunch with your friends, having a drink after work, going to a gig, a pub, a bar or a restaurant. It’s really important. I also think that people have realized that some things don’t matter. There is less attention to material things and more fun in the company of the other. I think it made us realize how much we rely on each other for our mental fitness. ‘
Photo: Chris Waywell
The key to the campaign is to focus on the things we all love about living in London: art, culture, eating, drinking, going out. “I can see a lot of young Londoners are working in these fields,” says Khan. Let’s Do London is about bringing all the major players in London together: the Globe, the National Theater, the Southbank, the V&A, the O2, great chefs, great artists like David Hockney, great live music venues, pubs , Bars and restaurants. We want to make sure this summer is the best summer we’ve ever seen. ‘
Let’s Do London will also focus on the capital’s many fantastic outdoor spaces that were such a savior during the lockdown. Many are transformed by artists like Yinka Ilori and David Hockney. Khan wants to see “more walking, more cycling, more pedestrian streets”. “We want to avoid a car-led recovery at all costs,” he says, “because we don’t want London to be stuck.” More walking and cycling are good for business too. We’re very good at public spaces in London and how we use them. So what you will see all over London are public art exhibitions. not hidden in the lobbies of buildings. If you go to Piccadilly Circus tomorrow, see some works by David Hockey and other artists. What this pandemic has reminded people around the world are the things they enjoy the most. And one of the things they enjoy the most is people. ‘
The campaign promises a rejuvenated sense of what this city is doing well and how life here can be improved for everyone. Together we have waited so long for our city to be returned to us. As Khan says, “I think our reopening our city will allow us to get our mojo back.” Here is the hope …
Further details on the 2021 Let’s Do London campaign can be found here.
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